Teamwork the key for Kidney Kids charity

The Community Nursing team at Forth Valley Royal Hospital
The Community Nursing team at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

It takes a lot of willing by a lot of people to make the work of a campaigning charity a worthwhile success.

Since its launch in July 2000, the tireless efforts of Kidney Kids Scotland has won the support of volunteers and the generosity of the public to make a difference for children with renal illness and their families.

Its main objective is to enable youngsters to receive vital treatment as close to home as possible to minimise disruption to the family unit.

But from the outset Kidney Kids Scotland has known it would be a challenge that would be impossible to deliver on its own - that is why a willingness to work closely with the experts - consultants, medical and welfare people who know where it can best channel its energy - has been key.

Someone who knows first-hand the benefits of this partnership working is Karen Macfarlane a Paediatric Sister in the Children’s Ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

As the work to promote awareness continues towards World Kidney Day on March 12, she explained the role she and her colleagues play.

Karen said: “A number of years ago the Scottish Government developed a National Delivery Plan highlighting the main areas in paediatrics that required input to allow children and families access to effective care locally. One of these was renal and a couple of years ago money was provided for creation of my current post to help that happen.

“As a Paediatric Sister, one day a week I am employed as a Paediatric Renal Link Nurse within the Children’s Community Nursing team. The main aim of my post is to provide different levels of support for children with chronic renal problems and their families.

“This involves monitoring blood pressures, obtaining bloods, commencing medications and carrying out the plan of care that has been agreed within the team which includes myself and a paediatrician, who is the link for the medical staff. We also draw on the support of the pharmacy and dietics, work closely with the renal unit at Yorkhill and are guided by the paediatric nephrologist. A plan of care is prepared with input from everyone involved including the child and parents, allowing localised care with expert input from the specialist centre.

“Currently I have 24 families on my caseload, all with different degrees of kidney disease or renal problems and work closely with Kidney Kids by referring children and families to them for support. This can vary from financial help to offering a service that allows them to talk about and share experiences.

“An invaluable event they organise is the Kidney Kids Family Weekend which offers workshops on topics relevant to families living with kidney disease and gives them the chance to realise they are not alone. Kidney Kids are also providing a portable blood pressure machine, essential for me to carry out home visits and obtain accurate information to allow the child to receive correct care, and a bladder scanner for the Children’s Ward, another piece of equipment invaluable when diagnosing acutely unwell children.

“My community post allows me to work away from the acute side of paediatric nursing where we can see a huge amount of patients in a short space of time.

“I am fortunate to work closely with some families and build lasting relationships. I thoroughly enjoy being able to provide support that allows these children to have as little disruption to their daily lives as possible.”